Barcelona have been the dominant force in European football over the last decade or so and it is hard to see Luis Enrique’s men falling short as they seem set to record their fifth Champions League triumph since the start of the 2005-06 campaign. The Spanish giants have enjoyed plenty of success in this competition in recent times and many believe that La Blaugrana may be set to go all the way to this season’s final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
Whilst football matches aren’t won on paper, Barca boast one of the strongest and most complete sides in world football and Enrique will be quietly confident of reaching the latter stages of the competition at the very least. Barcelona have been involved in the quarter-final stage in each of the last 10 years and it would take a brave man to back against the defending La Liga champions as they look to continue their dominance on the continent.
Defensively, Barcelona have never been totally reliable and Manchester City exploited their weaknesses when beating Enrique’s side 3-1 at the beginning of November. But they mustn’t panic – Enrique can fix their problems at the back. However, the Barca boss does have plenty of work to do if they are going to bounce back and win the competition this season – a poor defensive record could come back to haunt them in the knockout stages, particularly as the away-goal rule takes effect as of the last-16 round. To be honest, attack is very much the best form of defence for this Barcelona side…
Barcelona's best defence against Sevilla could lie in their potent attack.
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 4, 2016
Their front three need no introduction. Four-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi will go down in history as one of the greatest players in history, if not the greatest, but both Luis Suarez and Neymar are also integral components of Barcelona’s “MSN” unit in attack. Since the Uruguay international joined the club in the summer of 2014, Barca’s front three have scored well over 280 goals – an incredible achievement. Messi will receive individual recognition in the archives of world football but MSN will also attract plenty of attention in the history books if they continue at this phenomenal rate.
And when you have Messi, Suarez and Neymar in the side, anything is possible. Barca’s front three are all capable of turning a game on its head in a matter of seconds and that is what makes them even more spectacular. If anything, MSN have been better in the Champions League than any other competition this season, scoring 11 goals in 11 combined appearances – with four of those coming in the 4-0 victory over City.
As of November 14th, Barcelona are right up there based on their Champions League results so far and Betway are offering 10/3 on Enrique’s side to go all the way and lift the trophy at the end of the campaign. If they can hold their place at the top of the group ahead of former manager Pep Guardiola and Manchester City then they should secure a slightly easier clash in the last-16. While it doesn’t always work out that way, home advantage in the second leg is just as important when winning the group.
With a bit of luck, Barcelona may avoid the likes of Bayern Munich, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund in the next round of the competition. If so, another quarter-final berth looks on the cards and Messi, Suarez and Neymar will relish the opportunity to go out and lead La Blaugrana to victory. This Barcelona team is on the verge of rivalling Guardiola’s legendary 2008-09 side and another Champions League triumph will certainly help their standing in the history books.